Group tackles gender-based violence in rural communities

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Kemi Da- Silva-Ibru

WOMEN at Risk International Foundation (WARIF)  says it has extended awareness creation on gender-based violence arising from the COVID- 19 lockdowns to rural communities in Lagos State.

WARIF,  a non-governmental organization on gender-based violence in Nigeria, launched the WARIF COVID-19 Response in Rural Communities Initiative in response to the increase in reported cases of violence against women and girls during the ongoing pandemic.

Dr Kemi Da- Silva-Ibru, founder of WARIF, made this known in a statement on Friday in Lagos.

Da -Silva-Ibru, sharing her concerns about the increase in gender-based violence, said the lockdown and frustrations arising from the COVID-19 pandemic had led to an increase in reported cases of violence against women and girls.

This, she said, had led the organisation to recognise the need to address the issue at the grassroots level.

She said that the sensitisation program was designed in collaboration with traditional birth attendants, previously trained by WARIF as first responders on gender-based violence cases.

“These health care providers, already educated on the prevalence of domestic and sexual gender-based violence within their grassroots communities and the immediate response and management of these cases, have been galvanised into small cell groups.

“They will be making house to house visits in their various communities to offer assistance to women who are in lockdown with their spouses and partners.

“Cases of abuse in these households are being identified and recorded and are referred to as the WARIF Rape Crisis Centre.

“Additional support and assistance are given to these traditional birth attendants, by the distribution of personal protective equipment such as face masks, hand sanitisers, and gloves to protect these frontline workers and reduce the risk of spread of the virus in their respective communities,” she said.

Da Silva-Ibru revealed that the first cycle of the program was being carried out in five Local Government Areas of Lagos State — Epe, Alimosho, Ikorodu, Kosofe, and Apapa.

“These LGAs are selected due to a high number of women in these communities, with Alimosho, the largest, with an estimated population of 5,700, 714.

“Fifty-four percent of the population of Nigeria still reside in rural areas, with the shadow pandemic and the increasing number of cases, women in these remote areas are isolated and locked away with their abusers with no means of communicating with the outside world and with no services available to them.

“This initiative brings help to their doorsteps, providing an opportunity for care and safety from their abusers that they will not ordinarily have,” she said. (NAN)

– May 22, 2020 @ 12:25 GMT |

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